Today marks 50 years of Roe v Wade. This landmark Supreme Court decision in America established abortion as a constitutional rights.
Roe Wade was reaffirmed last June. The power now allows 50 states to make individual decisions on abortion rights.
It set off a tsunami of change. Court cases were filed, abortion bans were enacted, and clinics were closed. This is what has occurred in the seven months that have passed since US abortion rights were abolished.
What is Roe V Wade?
Roe v Wade is the 1973 Supreme Court Case in which the government was prohibited from prohibiting abortions. The case stated that the Constitution right to liberty also includes the right to choose whether to continue a pregnant woman’s life.
Roe is a Texan woman Norma McCorvey – also known as Jane Roe – who challenged Texas’ abortion laws in 1969 when she was unable to get a termination. Her life was not in imminent danger. Wade is Henry Wade, the district attorney who defended anti-abortion legislations.
This court decision gave every American woman the right to have an abortion within the first 12 weeks. Planned Parenthood in 1982 v Casey – a second ruling, said that states cannot have laws that make it difficult for women to seek an abortion within 24 weeks.
States ban abortion
Near-total abortion bans are currently in effect in 12 states. The ban remains in force in five states, although it is currently being challenged in court.
These 12 states include Alabama, Arkansas Idaho, Kentucky Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma. South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia, South Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Texas, Texas, and West Virginia.
North Dakota and Wisconsin are the only states that do not have abortion bans, but they have closed their clinics so it is no longer possible to have an abortion.
Georgia banned abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. This severely restricts access to terminations, as many women don’t find out that they are pregnant and do not have the time to arrange the procedure.
The Guttmacher Institute, which specializes in reproductive health, estimates that these 15 states house almost 22 million women between the ages of 15 and 49. This means that almost a third American women are living in states with severely restricted or unavailable abortions.
Nine additional states have also implemented restrictions on abortion that would be unconstitutional under Roe V Wade. These bans are currently being blocked by the court, or they will soon.
Arizona and Florida prohibit abortions after 15 weeks. Utah, however, allows for it.
Three states, Indiana, Wyoming, and Ohio, have blocked state courts from banning near-total or premature-gestation bans. However, lawmakers have stated that they are committed to fighting them.
Anti-abortion policymakers in Iowa, Montana, and Nebraska have stated that they would like to ban abortion soon but that abortion care is still available.
What has happened to abortion clinics in the past?
In the 15 states that ban or severely restrict abortion, at least 66 abortion clinics have ceased offering care.
According to the Guttmacher Institute this is because clinics in states that allow abortion are being inundated by people from other states.
The institute explained that “these dramatic increases in caseloads means clinic capacity and staff are stretched too far, leading to longer wait times for appointments even in states where abortion is legal.”
The Society of Family Planning’s study estimated that legal abortions fell by more than 10,000 nationwide in the two-month period following Roe v Wade’s overturning. However, some women may have sought out abortion pills privately.
High numbers of indigenous, black and Latina women are found in many states that have restricted or banned abortion.
The Kaiser Family Foundation’s research revealed that Roe v Wade was disproportionately affected by women of color. They are more likely than other women to have abortions and have less access to healthcare.
The Guttmacher Institute also notes that people with low incomes, transmen and nonbinary persons, immigrants, adolescents, and people with disabilities are more likely to face compounding obstacles to abortion care, and to be hurt as a consequence.
Some states have implemented protections
Despite the fact that abortion rights have been significantly eroded in the United States, there are still some good news for prochoice activists.
Kansas voters protected the rights to abortion by rejecting an amendment which would have allowed legislators to limit access to abortions.
New York will offer free abortion pills at its four public clinics. This makes it the nation’s first health department to offer this free service.
Five states voted to protect reproductive rights in the midterm elections. California, Michigan, and Vermont added protections to their state constitutions. Kentucky voters rejected an amendment that would have removed protection for abortion rights from the constitution.
A bill in Montana that would have made doctors guilty of providing abortions illegal was defeated.
How a hidden network allowed thousands of abortions to be performed in the US
After a surge in demand, US-based clinics offer free vasectomies
The majority of abortions in America are medical. In 2020, the most recent year available data, 53% of cases involved abortion pills.
Early evidence suggests that they are more popular than Roe v Wade. One study suggested that the number of people seeking medical abortions had increased by threefold.
The Food and Drug Administration amended its rules at the beginning of January to allow US retail pharmacies to sell abortion pills.
Anti-abortion activists see abortion pills as the next frontier and are working hard to limit access.